Valuing preferences over stormwater management outcomes including improved hydrologic function

Authors

  • Catalina Londoño Cadavid,

    1. Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA
    2. Escuela de Ingeniería de Antioquia, Antioquia, Colombia
    Search for more papers by this author
  • Amy W. Ando

    Corresponding author
    1. Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, Illinois, USA
    • Corresponding author: A. W. Ando, Department of Agricultural and Consumer Economics, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 326 Mumford Hall, MC-710, 1301 W. Gregory Dr., Urbana, IL 61801-3605, USA. (amyando@illinois.edu)

    Search for more papers by this author

Abstract

[1] Stormwater runoff causes environmental problems such as flooding, soil erosion, and water pollution. Conventional stormwater management has focused primarily on flood reduction, while a new generation of decentralized stormwater solutions yields ancillary benefits such as healthier aquatic habitat, improved surface water quality, and increased water table recharge. Previous research has estimated values for flood reduction from stormwater management, but no estimates exist for the willingness to pay (WTP) for some of the other environmental benefits of alternative approaches to stormwater control. This paper uses a choice experiment survey of households in Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, to estimate the values of several attributes of stormwater management outcomes. We analyzed data from 131 surveyed households in randomly selected neighborhoods. We find that people value reduced basement flooding more than reductions in yard or street flooding, but WTP for basement flood reduction in the area only exists if individuals are currently experiencing significant flooding themselves. Citizens value both improved water quality and improved hydrologic function and aquatic habitat from runoff reduction. Thus, widespread investment in low impact development stormwater solutions could have very large total benefits, and stormwater managers should be wary of policies and infrastructure plans that reduce flooding at the expense of water quality and aquatic habitat.

Ancillary